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Fewer Indiana voters casting early ballots this year

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After a strong start, fewer Indiana residents are taking advantage of early voting for this year's election than in 2008, when a record quarter of all Hoosiers voters cast ballots before Election Day.

The Indiana secretary of state's office said more than 361,000 early ballots were cast around the state through Tuesday — about 10,000 fewer ballots than had been cast a week before the 2008 election.

But county offices around the state remained busy this week as residents lined up to cast absentee ballots ahead of Monday's noon deadline to vote in person before Election Day.

Early voting was strong in Hamilton County, a Republican stronghold just north of Indianapolis where 20,209 people had cast ballots by Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the county had logged about 500 more early votes than at the same time in 2008, said county election administrator Kathy Richardson.

Her office had seen a strong start to early voting in the first week of October, but that was followed by a lull. Richardson said it wasn't until last Thursday that lines started to form and since then voters have waited up to an hour in lines to cast their ballots in the presidential, governor's, U.S. Senate and other races.

"I think a lot of the people are a little tired of the advertising and a lot of them think once they've voted they don't have to pay attention to it anymore," Richardson said. "And they also know it's going to be busy on Election Day and they're trying to get ahead of it."

In Lake County, a Democratic stronghold that's the state's second-most populous county, more than 24,000 early ballots had been received as of Tuesday.

Sally LaSota, the administrative director of the Lake County Board of Elections and Registration, said that in the past week lines have formed at times at the county's six early voting sites.

"It's starting to pick up. People are lining up to vote and it's a real convenience for a lot of them," she said.

Secretary of state's office spokeswoman Valerie Kroeger said that while a state law first allowed Indiana residents to cast in-person early ballots in 2003, many people are still learning that it's a voting option for them, or discovering that doing so allows them to avoid big Election Day lines.

"It's amazing just how many people say 'I'm going to vote early' and act like it's something new, but it's not," she said.

Early votes are largely ballots cast in person at county clerk offices or absentee ballots mailed in, but voters have other options, including casting ballots before traveling election boards. In 2008, about 662,000 of the 2.8 million Indiana residents who voted in the general election cast their ballots before Election Day.

That was about 24 percent of all who voted that year, a new state record.

LaSota said that while nearly 37,000 Lake County residents cast early votes for 2008's general election, it's too early to know whether this year's early vote will approach or surpass that.

In Marion County, the state's most populous county, nearly 37,000 early ballots had been received as of Tuesday, nearly 4,500 fewer early ballots than had been received by the same date in 2008, said Angie Nussmeyer, a spokeswoman for the county clerk's office.

She said requests for mailed-in absentee ballots have recently been down about 25 percent compared with the final days before the 2008 election.

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  • Eva you right!!
    republicans don't believe in real fact checker!! they belive that money will buy them the big ticket to the White House, so voter suppression is another way to control and undermine the real winner. if you are smart vote democrat.
  • voter suppression is no joke
    I think voter suppression is not funny no question that republican party is working really hard to make the rest of Americans hard to vote!! what happen with you have the right to vote? they closing earlier this year, and then, so if you work 12 hrs. days and weekends you have to work too, I guess they said, well that's too bad, shame on you republicans,
  • Access is the issue
    4 years ago I voted early because on my day off I drove by one of the satellite polls and there was not a line. I stopped in and was finished quickly. This year no such option, I must head downtown to the City County Building. So I’ll just wait and go to my local precinct and vote on Election Day. Never mind I’ll have limited time since I start work at 5:00 and often work until 5:00 PM. It will probably be a mess since my poll was moved to a smaller place with more precincts gathered in the same close quarters. But hey anything to save a dime for the taxpayers eh? Wait wait smaller government equals smaller polls and smaller choices of when and where to vote NOW I get it!
  • Voter Suppression in Marion County
    Early voting is down in Marion County because the Marion County Republicans and their puppet Dietrick only allow voting at the most inconvenient of locations....City Hall. Great for Republican's chances of winning, but really bad for democracy. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    • vote
      My problem is.... So many companies are saying if romney wins they will do this and that. This is wrong. They are buying votes to get what they want they should all be prosecuted.
    • I have my theory.
      Those die hard Republicans are not happy with what they are offered (if they vote their usual GOP)and they are just putting it off-----maybe thinking it will go away. Sorry, it won't. Just vote for the Democrats and know that you are doing the right thing, and get it over with.

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